BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens decided to go with rookie first-round pick Lamar Jackson as their backup quarterback to Joe Flacco in Sunday’s season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
The Ravens announced that Robert Griffin III was inactive, meaning Baltimore suited up two quarterbacks in Flacco and Jackson.
By going with Jackson, this could indicate the Ravens intend to use him in two-quarterback plays with Flacco or in specialized packages for Jackson, especially in the red zone where he was most effective in the preseason. Coach John Harbaugh said in June that Jackson would be active on game days, but Harbaugh wouldn’t disclose the No. 2 quarterback leading up to the opener.
Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, finished the preseason strong, posting a 103.2 passer rating in his last two games. He also ran for 136 yards (12th most by any player in the preseason this year) and scored three touchdowns.
Asked four days ago if he was ready to take the field for in any capacity, Jackson said: “Absolutely. I’ve been preparing for it through the OTAs, rookie minicamp. I’m just ready.”
Griffin, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft, was more efficient and consistent than Jackson in training camp and the preseason. He would likely start if Flacco missed any games.
By being on the roster for Week 1, Griffin’s $1 million salary is guaranteed.
But the Ravens are intrigued by Jackson’s playmaking ability, which can boost last year’s No. 27 offense.
Griffin’s impressive play came after he was out of the league last season. It also led the Ravens to keep three quarterbacks for the first time since 2009.
Griffin prepared for the possibility of not playing.
“I will be understanding of that throughout the season and whatever may be,” Griffin said Friday.
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